This is day 11 of 31 Days of Songs and Stories. For an index of all the posts in the series, click here.
Today I’m delighted to feature a guest post from Shauna Blaak.
“I didn’t ask for this, God!”
It seemed to be my theme song for the first few years of living in South Africa. Where was the glamour of international living? Where were the supernatural miracles of being a “missionary”? Why was this sooo hard?
I missed my family immensely, especially when the culture shock hit. I missed my friends―they never misunderstood my intentions. I missed my grocery store with its familiar brands and flavours. I missed my doctor and the brands of medicine I knew and trusted. I missed ‘my people.’ I missed Home.
Corrie Ten Boom said that “The safest place to be is in the centre of God’s will” and I agree. But I would also add that SAFE and EASY are two different things. Just because you are doing what God has called you to do, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be EASY. In my experience, obeying God has been the most difficult and expensive thing we’ve ever done… and the most life-giving!
Let me clarify… In January 2007, my husband and I packed our house into storage and moved with 12 suitcases, 11 carry-ons, and 4 small children to sunny South Africa to be worship pastors in an international church. Starry-eyed, full of faith, and passionate about serving God in this corner of the world, Jeffreys Bay was the location, and Victory Church was the venue.
It didn’t take long for the reality of international living to hit us square in the face. Culture shock, language issues, homesickness, and political red-tape were just a few of the issues we faced. In those moments, the enemy would torment us with “Quit! You never asked for this.”
But God is so gracious, isn’t He? And He stands watch over His Word to perform it. He takes us step-by-step from where we are to where He wants us to be. He fights on our behalf against ALL of the opposing forces in our lives.
What exactly are we fighting?
1. We fight preconceived ideas and false expectations
When things don’t go as expected, it’s easy to become disillusioned and want to quit. But that’s the problem; we become dis-illusioned because we believed an illusion in the first place. Bring your expectations back to Father and let Him shed His light on them. Let Him give you accurate vision and clear strategy.
2. We fight outright evil
Whether it be in the form of a petty thief that grabs your handbag out of your car, or robbers that invade your safe place in the night, evil is real―but angels are even more so! Ask Father to open your spiritual eyes to see, so you can declare like Elisha, “Fear not! For those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)
3. We fight homesickness
I know this may sound strange, but it’s true. Sentimentality is NOT your friend when you are on the front lines. Don’t allow the good things in your life to call you back from the place of obedience. Pursue ‘God-things,’ not just good things.
4. We fight powers and principalities
I’m referring to anything that opposes the Kingdom of God in every sphere of society. Whether resistance comes from legislators, government officials, or the disgruntled worker who refuses to approve your visa, there is an assignment from the enemy to resist and discourage you.
The Weapon of My Warfare = WORSHIP!
It’s in these moments of struggle and resistance that the song “In Jesus Name” has become my anthem! Darlene Zschech wrote it during her battle with cancer, and when I sing it, my entire being cries out “I will NOT QUIT!”
God is fighting for us, God is on our side
He has overcome, yes, He has overcome
We will not be shaken, we will not be moved
Jesus, You are here
I will live, I will not die
The resurrection pow’r of Christ alive in me
And I am free in Jesus’ name
I will live, I will not die
I will declare and lift You high. Christ revealed
And I am healed in Jesus’ name
God is fighting for us, pushing back the darkness
Lighting up the Kingdom that cannot be shaken
In the Name of Jesus, enemy’s defeated
And we will shout it out, shout it out
What a powerful weapon we have at our disposal, to declare that God is our WayMaker in the midst of any opposition and discouragement! This is MY song. I sing it in the car. I sing it in the shower. I sing it when we make yet another futile trip to Home Affairs. I will not quit!
God is fighting for us, and we can trust Him to make a way where there is no other way!
And He’s fighting for you too!
Shauna is a Canadian writer, teacher, and singer who has lived in South Africa for almost ten years. Together with her husband, Erwin, they lead the Worship Ministry at Victory Church in Jeffreys Bay. With four amazing teenagers who keep them hopping, life is never boring.
You can find her at www.blaaklistwriters.com.